Thursday, February 10, 2011

No More Mulligans for Me

If you’ve been following my blog, you already know that I am golfing. I love the physical challenge, the competition (with myself), and being out on a beautiful course in the fresh air. All that walking and flailing around with a club is good exercise. An added bonus is my new circle of golf buddies – the ladies I see at least once a week for our “Nine and Wine” gathering. But, it’s time to kick it all up a notch!

I am working on my golf handicap. Turns out that I need one to play on Ladies Day and in any club tournaments. My goal for this year is to participate in Talking Rock’s “Spirit Cup” tournament in late August. The tournament is several days of golf, female camaraderie, food, drink, and fun. I don’t want to be left out this year.

The purpose of establishing a handicap is to allow amateur golfers of disparate skill levels to play together competitively. My club has set me up online with the Arizona Women’s Golf Association, and I now log my scores. Once I have completed a certain number of rounds, a calculation will be made based on my scores and the difficulty of the courses I have played, and a handicap established. Assuming I continue to submit my scores, the handicap will be adjusted over time, if I get better (or, God forbid, worse).

Let’s say I am assigned a handicap of 20. If I then actually score a 120 on 18 holes, my handicap would be subtracted from my score, and my score would become 100 for competitive purposes. At this point, I expect my handicap to be pretty high – but I have to start somewhere, right?

The pursuit of a handicap is having some interesting side effects on my golf game. First – I can no longer be casual with the official rules. Until now, if I flubbed a drive, I would take a mulligan and try again (without counting the extra stroke on my score). Second – I find that I am much more focused on making a good shot, because one more stroke here and another there makes a difference. Now that I submit my scores, I would like to avoid unnecessary embarrassment. I think this focus will help me improve my game.

This could be a humbling experience, but it’s necessary if I want to become a serious golfer. Stay tuned for updates.

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